HP’s x360 14 Chromebook is a big change from last year’s model

This week, HP announced a new 14-inch machine running Google’s Chrome OS: the HP Chromebook x360 14. That’s not to be confused with the 14-inch HP  x360 that runs Windows or last year’s HP Chromebook x360 11.

HP says this is its thinnest Chromebook ever, at just 16mm. The entry-level configuration ships equipped with an eighth-generation Core i3 CPU, but a Core i5 option will also be available.

As for graphics, the x360 14 has Intel’s UHD Graphics 620. Other specs include a 1080p display, 8GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM, and 64GB of storage. In terms of connectivity, it of course has 802.11b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, plus Bluetooth 4.2. Ports include two USB-C and two USB-A, a headphone jack, and a microSD card slot. HP promises up to 13.5 hours of battery life. There’s also a backlit keyboard and an HD webcam with a microphone. The device measures 12.81 x 8.93 x 0.63 inches.

Like a lot of laptops at this price point, the x360 14 is a convertible—interesting, given that Google’s own flagship new Chrome OS device announced at almost the same time is a tablet.

HP is going for that “premium” vibe with this one, talking up the materials in its press releasing and pricing it starting at $600. That’s right at the price point that Ars’ own Peter Bright opined makes Chromebooks a real threat to Microsoft. As students who were introduced to Chromebooks in school grow up, they might find themselves in possession of the funds to purchase something a little nicer than the as-cheap-as-possible machines they used in classrooms before—and if companies like HP provide, then they might be inclined to stay in that ecosystem instead of switching to Windows.

HP has been a reliable source of attractive Chromebooks lately; Ars was impressed by Chromebook x2. The x2 made the prospect of Chrome OS as a primary platform for getting work done seem viable our reviewer. If you’re not feeling that device’s detachable approach and prefer a convertible, the x360 looks like a solid entry in a crowded category in this price range. It’s certainly more practical for more users than the education-oriented 11-inch device that HP shipped last year.

Preorders have already started both from HP’s store and from Best Buy. The device will ship on October 18.

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